Does Language Influence Thought: Challenges for Intercultural Learning Environments

Jeftic , Alma (2012) Does Language Influence Thought: Challenges for Intercultural Learning Environments. In: 2nd International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (FLTAL’12), 4-6 May 2012, Sarajevo.

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The most important moment in child’s intellectual development is when speech and cognition begin to interact. The emergence of private speech, which would later become internalised, enables children to separate themselves from the immediate context, and to talk and reason about things that are not in front of them. Hence language and thought become separate, but interdependent entities. The aim of this paper is to explore the way in which language influences thought as well as to provide important implications for intercultural learning environments with regard to Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, functional fixedness and word order people use in everyday speech. For Chomsky, there is no relation between language and thought, since the child is born with the foundation of universal grammar or language acquisition device. Contrary, Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf propose the idea that the form of our language influences the way in which we think. In this paper the overview of anthropological and psychological studies of Safir-Whorf hypothesis is used in order to analyse the impact different languages can leave on thought, actions and behaviour. Also the connection between different word order used by different languages is analysed with regard to its impact on behaviour. This paper seeks to explore impact object-final languages (English) and verb-final languages (Turkish) can leave on behavioural pattern agent-patient-act. It is concluded that a weaker version of Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is supported by both literature review and case study approach. Also, language can affect ways in which students in intercultural environment learn memorize and reason; therefore it represents new challenge for educational practice.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: language acquisition devises Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, word order, object-final languages, and verb-final languages
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Depositing User: Mr. IT Center Editor
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2012 06:32
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2012 06:32

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